IMDb > Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

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Thom Andersen (text)
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A documentary on how Los Angeles has been used and depicted in the movies. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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Interesting footage of city ruined by filmmaker's agenda See more (27 total) »


Encke King ... Narrator (voice)
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Directed by
Thom Andersen 
Writing credits
Thom Andersen (text)

Produced by
Thom Andersen .... producer
Cinematography by
Deborah Stratman 
Film Editing by
Seung-Hyun Yoo 
Sound Department
Thor Moser .... sound
Craig Smith .... sound

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
169 min

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Interesting footage of city ruined by filmmaker's agenda, 12 September 2008
Author: gnome-5 from Santa Monica, CA

Where do people get the idea that movies are supposed to represent some kind of objective truth? That seems to be Andersen's main bug. He faults Hollywood for fictionalizing Los Angeles history. He says that rich white people can't make films about L.A. because they only know the rich white part of the city, and because they might offend their rich white friends. It seems in his view that only people who walk the streets and ride the buses are qualified to depict life in this city, but the clips he shows from a few "neo-realist" films don't feature the city very much, except for a long shot of a guy driving past a closed tire factory.

But all movies (even documentaries and those by poor black filmmakers) are constructs. By their nature (meaning meddling by cinematographers, editors, directors, etc.) they can only present a subjective view of the city. So why not embrace that? Things like "creative geography" are inherent to the art form, so why discount them? Ultimately, Andersen has a bug up his hinder about what he considers to be proper film-making, and it flies in the face of a hundred years of cinema history. And this guy is a professor of film studies!

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